I stumbled out of bed after 3 alarms on the day of my Mount Batur hike. I was feeling less than fresh that morning due to very loud and inconsiderate neighbours. The walls were paper thin in our hotel room, and I had a hard time falling asleep. I was staying in Kintamani, a small fishing village north-east of Bali, Indonesia. The accommodation was basic, as Kintamani is not a place you will find many tourists. Most guests come and go just to climb MtBatur. I had managed to get a total of 3 hours sleep that night, and while packing my gear nerves started to kick in as I questioned whether my energy levels would suffice the entirety of the 2-hour uphill climb.
Mt Batur is an active volcano that scales 1,717 meters above sea level. It towers over Bali and can be seen in the distance from a variety of locations. It is a memorable view that I got to enjoy during a Balinese buffet lunch a day before the hike.
After shaking my nerves I walked down to the bus and noticed my group had started to huddle. We each shared similar stories of our lousy neighbours and tired mumbled sentences soon turned to upbeat, excited chatter. My butterflies had turned into nervous energy and exhilaration.
Soon enough we had arrived at the starting location and we were shuttled off the bus and advised to turn flash lights ON. At 3 am, the sky was pitch black. Following the crowds of people before me I concentrated on my steps, cautiously using my flashlight to avoid stumbling on rocks or tripping over.
A stream of flashlights winding up and around the mountain in an S shaped formation could be seen above me like a trail of fire flies setting the mountain alight like a Christmas tree.
In front of me, I could see only bowed heads, as each traveller concentrated on their foot placement, careful not to slide on the rocky, uphill terrain. My peripheral vision provided me with only silhouettes of trees, rocks and tall grass. I kept my gaze and my flashlight only at my feet.
The mountain was quiet with only heavy breathing to be heard from the travellers hiking around me. I dared not to speak for the majority of the climb, afraid my childhood asthma would reappear. My muscles were aching and the lunges climbing each rock became more and more of a struggle with every step. Looking behind me I realised I had come too far to give up and managed to power through the climb taking every step as it came. After 2 hours of climbing, we had reached the summit 20 minutes before the awaited sunrise. With exhausted sighs of relief, we all sat down on a log and shared our emotions. An overwhelming sense of accomplishment had come over me.
Watching the sunrise come to life was one of the most beautiful scenes I had ever witnessed. Before my eyes- What was once a sea of clouds and morning fog turned into a spectacular display of fiery hues in pinks and oranges. The sky was painted with colours, the clouds were rolling and Mount Agung peak became visible in the distance. Smiles and pointed fingers started to appear amongst the crowds of tourists who had accomplished this triumph with me. Soon enough they started to cheer and the sky grew clearer as mother nature put on a spectacular show.
The sunrise lasted only a few minutes before the scene disappeared amongst a haze of fog and clouds. Although only short in time that moment and the picturesque scene will stay printed in my memory forever.
The sense of pride and the overwhelming feeling of emotion and joy reaching the peak is irreplaceable. This day set a light in my soul and a new passion for climbing. It brought to me a new dream, that with training, some hard saving and more experience, I can someday follow in my fathers foot steps and take on the notorious Mount Everest Base Camp. Only time will tell.